September 13, 2007

French Touches

Nicoise%20at%20Entre%20Nous.JPG Florentine%20crepe.jpg

Just because it's a modest storefront doesn't mean it's a hole in the wall. Au contraire, mes amis. Two new spots in Belltown--both French--forgo pomp in favor of hospitality.

At Entre Nous, it's the sprigs of thyme in a pitcher on the counter and Brigitte Bardot on the sound system. At Le Petit Café (no website), it's a slice of lemon in the water glass, seedless grapes on the plate. Little things that enliven lunch.

Behind the counter at Entre Nous is Stéphane Obayon, born on the French Riviera, a veteran of Seattle's fine-dining scene. "You take what the earth gives you," he says. "Not fancy, not fussy, not snobby." House white (a chardonnay labelled Le Petit Bistro, of all things, bottled by Burgundy négociant Labouré-Roi) is poured into a stemless tasting glass. Salade Niçoise fills a large, undecorated bowl with albacore, vegetables and hard-boiled egg. At every table, a helpful text, "Decoding French Dining," that Stephane wrote because "There is nothing worse...than trying to squirm your way through a fancy smancy French dinner." How to dress in France (no jogging outfits), salad after your main course (because lettuce is considered "digestive"), and so on. Then, having set up a code for Paris, he lets you off the hook in Seattle: "Here at Entre Nous, we welcome you as you are - wear what you want, eat how you want, pour yourself another glass of wine and be merry!!" Happy hour from 4:30 to 6, and an evening menu of affordable tapas and fondue.

Should be a great location; he's midway between Qube (recently closed for lunch) and Così (closed period), replacing a dismal Mexican takeout called Mamacita.

'Neath the monorail on Belltown's eastern fringe, meanwhile, it's Abdul Smoum (last seen at Il Forno pizza on Capitol Hill) who brings the menu and the organic eats, prepared by his wife, Fatima. A tiny kitchen and three or four tables, Le Petit Café is adjacent to Seattle Glassblowing Studio and formerly housed Café Amore (which Sean Langan has since moved into the space occupied by Spice, half a block north). The Crêpe Florentine is filled with organic scrambled eggs, organic baby spinach, mushrooms and gruyère: everything's organic, from sweet or savory crêpes to salads and panini. But no alcohol.

Entre Nous, 216 Stewart St., 206-905-1633 Entre Nous on Urbanspoon
Le Petit Organic Café, 2229 5th Ave. 206-441-3845 Le Petit Cafe & Creperie on Urbanspoon

Posted by Ronald Holden at September 13, 2007 8:30 AM

Recent Entries

TIK logo.gif
The International Kitchen
Cooking school vacations in Italy, France & Spain.


The International Vineyard, a new way to learn about wine in France, Italy and Spain: three-night programs for wine lovers in less-traveled regions.

The International Kitchen, the leading source for culinary vacations in France and Italy.

French Word-A-Day, fascinating lessons about language and daily life in Provence

Belltown Messenger, chronicle of a Seattle neighborhood's denizens, derelicts, clubs, bars & eateries. Restaurant reviews by Cornichon.

Small Screen Network, where food & drink celebrities like Robert Hess have recorded terrific videos.

French Chef Sally is my friend Sally McArthur, who hosts luxurious, week-long cooking classes at the Chateau du Riveau in the Loire Valley.

Local Wine, the worlds leading Food and Wine tasting calendar. Spirits and Beer events as well. Post your own event or sign up to be notified when new events are po sted to your own area.

VinoLover, Seattle wine promoter David LeClaire's bulletin board of tastings, dinners and special events.

Wine Educator Dieter Schafer maintains a full schedule of Seattle-area tastings and seminars for amateur wine drinkers and professional alike.

Nat Decants, a free wine e-newsletter from Natalie MacLean, recently named the World's Best Drink Writer at the World Food Media Awards in Australia. Wine picks, articles and humor; no ads.

Powered by
Movable Type 3.35
More blogs about food wine travel.
Who links to me?
var HOST = ''; // Copyright (c) 1996-1997 Athenia Associates. // // License is granted if and only if this entire // copyright notice is included. By Tomer Shiran. function setCookie (name, value, expires, path, domain, secure) { var curCookie = name + "=" + escape(value) + ((expires) ? "; expires=" + expires.toGMTString() : "") + ((path) ? "; path=" + path : "") + ((domain) ? "; domain=" + domain : "") + ((secure) ? "; secure" : ""); document.cookie = curCookie; } function getCookie (name) { var prefix = name + '='; var c = document.cookie; var nullstring = ''; var cookieStartIndex = c.indexOf(prefix); if (cookieStartIndex == -1) return nullstring; var cookieEndIndex = c.indexOf(";", cookieStartIndex + prefix.length); if (cookieEndIndex == -1) cookieEndIndex = c.length; return unescape(c.substring(cookieStartIndex + prefix.length, cookieEndIndex)); } function deleteCookie (name, path, domain) { if (getCookie(name)) document.cookie = name + "=" + ((path) ? "; path=" + path : "") + ((domain) ? "; domain=" + domain : "") + "; expires=Thu, 01-Jan-70 00:00:01 GMT"; } function fixDate (date) { var base = new Date(0); var skew = base.getTime(); if (skew > 0) date.setTime(date.getTime() - skew); } function rememberMe (f) { var now = new Date(); fixDate(now); now.setTime(now.getTime() + 365 * 24 * 60 * 60 * 1000); setCookie('mtcmtauth',, now, '', HOST, ''); setCookie('mtcmtmail',, now, '', HOST, ''); setCookie('mtcmthome', f.url.value, now, '', HOST, ''); } function forgetMe (f) { deleteCookie('mtcmtmail', '', HOST); deleteCookie('mtcmthome', '', HOST); deleteCookie('mtcmtauth', '', HOST); = ''; = ''; f.url.value = ''; } //-->